Vatican declines to respond to Pennsylvania’s ‘predator priests’ report

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The Vatican turned down an opportunity to respond to an explosive grand jury report detailing more than a thousand instances of sexual abuse allegedly committed by hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania.

“We have no comment at this time,” Paloma Ovejero, deputy director of the Vatican’s press office, told CNN Wednesday

{mosads}The grand jury, which listened to testimony from victims and met for two years, released the report Tuesday, identifying more than 300 abusers who are members of the Catholic Church in the state. It goes on to say the Catholic Church covered up the abuse.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted,” the report says.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who oversaw the investigation, explained just how widespread the abuse was, tweeting Tuesday, “The abuse scarred every diocese. The cover up was sophisticated. Their own Secret Archives formed the backbone of this investigation — it’s how Church officials referred to troves of documents sitting in filing cabinets just feet from the Bishops’ desk.”

The report described Vatican efforts to protect the abusers, saying it was “like a playbook for concealing the truth.” The grand jury expressed pessimism that they had caught every offender.

“We should emphasize that, while the list of priests is long, we don’t think we got them all. We feel certain that many victims never came forward, and that the dioceses did not create written records every single time they heard something about abuse,” the report states.

While the Vatican declined to respond, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, put out a statement.

“The report of the Pennsylvania grand jury again illustrates the pain of those who have been victims of the crime of sexual abuse by individual members of our clergy, and by those who shielded abusers and so facilitated an evil that continued for years or even decades. We are grateful for the courage of the people who aided the investigation by sharing their personal stories of abuse. As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops,” it said.

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